Thursday I volunteered at the Community Café at a local church. I had never worked before in a soup kitchen and thought it would be a unique experience. I also did not know there was a weekly soup kitchen offered to the public. I was responsible for preparing the food an hour before the community members got there and helped serve the meals. I was surprised to see that the food didn’t have a limit on helping sizes and that the kitchen was supplied with enough food to feed everyone. When I asked the organizer how many people they have each week, they said it ranges from fifty to one hundred. I found that incredibly surprising due to the fact that I don’t see “traditional” homeless people that come to mind. It really put me in my place of privilege and my understanding of how these people’s lives may be-couch surfing, living in old buildings, or even students that aren’t eating.
Most of the people that were there seemed to be community or church members. I did see students that were wearing athletic gear from Penn State. This reminded me of conversations I’ve had in class about the possibility of student athletes not having enough food, clothing, or transportation as they needed since they are not allowed to hold a job or receive actual money from everyone. Sure they receive mealplans and housing, but I honestly don’t know what I would do if I needed extra non-athletic clothes and didn’t have the means to purchase them. It can be intimidating or potentially embarrassing for students to go to a soup kitchen and/or a clothing donation site. This volunteer project really put in perspective my privilege and opportunities.